Dining » Dining Lead

Early Thanks

Fall menus change the colors at some local restaurants.


For those with seasonally tuned palates, it's time to hop to it: Fall's bounty is now being celebrated on menus throughout the region. Whether it's a 12-ounce pork chop over roasted cranberries and turnips, topped with fried leeks and a Scotch reduction sauce at OPA! on 25th (1834 West 25th Street, 216-344-0575), or an indulgent pairing of lobster and shrimp, with goat-cheese-piqued polenta, spinach, and roasted butternut squash -- part of the limited-time lobster promotion through November 21 at Sans Souci, in Tower City's Renaissance Cleveland Hotel (216-696-5600) -- the deep, earthy flavors of autumn always make our taste buds tingle.

Those of you who are into natural aphrodisiacs know that autumn is also oyster season, and there are few better places to score a reliably fresh selection of these sexy little tidbits than at Blue Point Grille (700 West St. Clair Avenue, 216-875-STAR). Daily raw-bar offerings typically include the namesake bluepoints, delivered overnight from the East Coast, as well as oysters from waters off Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Washington. Each Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., oyster lovers can rev up their engines at a discount, too, when raw-bar items and drinks are offered at reduced prices.

As you cruise the local raw bars, keep a lookout for the outrageously plump Snow Creek oysters from waters off Washington's coast. We recently encountered these fine, fat fellows at Hudson's new Downtown 140 (140 North Main Street, 330-656-1294), where chef-owner Shawn Monday served them with a swoosh of lemony yuzu mignonette and a cool, Asian-style cucumber salad. A little sweet, a tad sea-salty, and a trifle tart, these luscious creatures could fuel your love machine for hours.

Keener wieners . . . Even if the only bike you own has training wheels and a bell, don't hesitate to drop by Northfield Village's recently opened Hogs and Dogs (199 Ledge Road, 330-650-4001). The family-owned-and-operated business couples sales of retail motorcycle accessories with selling seven gussied-up varieties of Nathan's Famous all-beef franks at a little hot-dog counter. Personally, we're partial to the Full Dresser ($3.25), with sweet relish, gherkins, jalapeños, sliced tomato, and yellow mustard, although the Low Rider ($2.50), with chili, hot cheddar-cheese sauce, and diced onion, has its fans too. Hours are still in flux, so calling ahead is a good idea; at last report, the place was open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Settle in at one of the handful of cheerful chrome-plated tables to eat, or grab your wienie and hit the road.

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